Oops! I forgot! Rejection hurts!

I forgot about rejection. Really, I did.

I’ve taken risks, of course, and I’ve pushed myself out of my comfort zone. I’ve chosen to experience new things and to pursue new interests. But I haven’t “put myself out there” in the kind of situation where someone else chooses whether I get to take a risk or not. It’s been a while since I’ve had the opportunity to feel the sting of rejection and figure out how to deal with it. I’m not sure if it’s coincidental, intentional, or a combination of both.

But recently, I applied for a program that I really wanted to do – a writing program. I haven’t had to apply for anything other than a loan in a long time.

During the whole application process, I didn’t obsess on not being accepted. I really didn’t even think about it very much. It was a lot of work, but I noticed that I actually enjoyed the process. Hmmm. I didn’t get nervous until after I submitted everything and had to wait to hear. And even that nervousness wasn’t too uncomfortable, more like an excited anticipation. I didn’t spend much time worrying about what would happen if I weren’t accepted. I didn’t make up painful scenarios in advance.

When the day came to find out what happened, I eagerly checked my email. Nothing. Nothing. Oh, here it is. I was not accepted. A very simple rejection letter. There was great interest…too many applicants…not enough spots…you weren’t selected at this time.

Hmm. That was a surprise. Of course I was disappointed. Of course I spent a bit of time thinking about why I was might have been rejected. But I noticed that I chose to believe that there were not enough spots and I wasn’t a fit.

I didn’t make it mean something about me and my writing. I didn’t make it mean that there was something wrong with me or my application. I didn’t make it mean that there was something wrong with them, either (the program, the editors, etc.) In fact, I noticed that I made it mean that it was something right, I just didn’t know what yet.

I wasn’t scared to apply elsewhere. In fact, I did and was accepted. It is probably a better fit, after all. Sure, there’s a little residual disappointment. That’s okay. It really is.

I think back about how many times in my life I didn’t go for something because I was afraid of rejection. Or how many times I did make rejection mean that there was something wrong with me – or that they were stupid idiots and horrible people for not choosing me. I wish I had forgotten about rejection a lot sooner. Oh well.

What would you do if you forgot about rejection?

In the meantime, remember these things: You are loved. We are all loved. Let’s all be kind. And in all things – progress, not perfection!

Love, and light in the pages,

Maggie

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